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Written by Flannery Fitch   

March is Women’s History Month—a wonderful opportunity to recommend some great books about amazing women you may have never heard of (if you have, more power to you!), as well as a few you probably have.

 

Who Was Sacagawea?

by Judith Bloom Fradin

You’ve know Sacagawea, the Native American woman who led Lewis and Clark on their trek to the West Coast, but how much do you really know about her life? If you’re curious, this little book in the Who Was series, which presents great biographies for young readers, is a great introduction to her life.

 

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea

by Robert Burleigh

I didn’t discover Marie Tharp until last year, and I’m so glad I finally did. Marie always wondered about the ocean—How deep is it? What does the sea floor look like?—but women were bad luck on ships, and weren’t supposed to be scientists. She preserved, and eventually did something no one thought possible: Mapping the sea floor! This completely beautiful book tells her story, and hopefully it will inspire young girls as much as she inspires me.

 

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

by Laurie Wallmark

We’re all familiar with the modern computer, but did you know that the first computer program was invented by a woman in the nineteenth century? Ada was always interested in math and science, and at age 17 she met Charles Babbage, an inventor, who showed her his design for a thinking machine, and she set to work writing an algorithm for it. Sadly, the machine was never built, and Ada was forgotten for some time. Now, through this utterly gorgeous book, her story can inspire countless girls interesting in programming.

 

Sewing Stories

by Barbara Herkert

I had never heard of Harriet Powers before picking up this adorably illustrated book, but I’m so glad I know about her now. Born a slave, Harriet’s mother taught her to quilt, and she became an incredibly talented quilter, sewing stories into fabric. After the Civil War, she and her husband bought a little farm, and when times were tough, she would sell a quilt. This lovely story proves that you don’t need to be famous to contribute beautiful art to the world.

 

To the Stars

by Kathy Sullivan

You’ve probably heard of astronaut Sally Ride, but have you heard of Dr. Kathy Sullivan, the first woman to walk in space? I hadn’t, until I picked up this picture book. From the time she was a little girl, Kathy knew she wanted to see the world and be an adventurer, but was told that girls didn’t like to do those things. She knew that wasn’t true for her, and refused to give up on her dreams—and one day, she really did get to see the whole world, in a way few people ever have! With this wonderfully-illustrated picture book, she tells her story.

 

First Girl Scout

by Ginger Wadsworth

As a former Girl Scout, I have a special place in my heart for Juliette Gordon Low, but if you’re not familiar with her, she founded the Girl Scouts and scandalized people by welcoming girls from all backgrounds, taking them to explore the outdoors, and encouraging them to learn skills that could take them beyond homemaking into the professional world. She created an organization that has empowered millions of girls since 1912, and broke new ground for women while doing so. This richly-illustrated book is both a biography of Low and a history of the Girl Scouts—and it’s great!

Flannery Fitch is a bookseller at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Her life has been about books since before she could read.

 
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